Good morning. We tell you about a real-life spy caper involving a General Electric engineer and his handler in Nanjing.
Illustrations by Hokyoung Kim
The invitation seemed like an exciting honor. Hua, as The New York Times is referring to him, was an engineer at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, and a Chinese aeronautical university had asked him to come back to China in 2017 to deliver a lecture about his field.
But Hua knew that GE might deny him permission to give the talk out of a concern that it would betray proprietary information. So he accepted the invitation — and traveled to Nanjing — without telling his bosses. When a suspicious F.B.I. agent later interviewed him about the trip, Hua dissembled and said he was only visiting friends and family.
By this point, Hua was facing likely criminal charges for lying to a federal agent, and he agreed to participate in a counterintelligence operation rather than being charged. Over the next six months, one of his hosts in Nanjing — a Ministry of State Security employee who had posed as a regional economic development official — tried to persuade Hua to download sensitive material from GE computers. All the while, the F.B.I. was coaching Hua and ultimately hoping to set up a meeting in a European country where Hua’s handler could be arrested and extradited to the United States.
On Oct. 12, 2022, Russian soldier Aleksey Lebedev logged onto VKontakte, Russia’s most popular social network, and uploaded a photo of himself in military fatigues crouching in a large white tent. He had been smart enough to obscure his face with a balaclava, but unfortunately for Lebedev and his comrades, he did not obscure the exact location from which he had posted: Svobodne village in southern Donetsk.
Russian soldier Aleksey Lebedev posted on the social media site VKontakte
Russian soldier Aleksey Lebedev posted on the social media site VKontakte on Oct. 12. The Ukrainian military investigations company Molfar noted the location on Google Maps (inset); a satellite version from Google Maps is pictured in the bottom inset. VKONTAKTE/GOOGLE MAPS VIA MOLFAR
Lebedev’s post was picked up by a Ukrainian military investigations company called Molfar. This lead was transferred to an analyst in its open-source intelligence (OSINT) branch, and investigators spent the next few hours constructing a target location profile for Lebedev and his military unit. The unit’s location was believed to be a training base for Russian and pro-Russian separatist troops. After discovering two other photos posted from the same location by pro-Russian servicemen—as well as other corroborating evidence, which was shared with Foreign Policy—Molfar passed its findings onto Ukrainian intelligence.
Digital technology has caused the biggest changes to teenage life in many decades. Typical American teenagers spend about half of their waking hours on their smartphones. They are on the phones when they are alone at home and when they are hanging out with friends.
In favor (8): Bruinei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore
Abstensions (2): Vietnam, Laos.
Observers (2): In favor: Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste
Total: 10 in favors, 2 abstentions]
141 members of the 193-nation body voted in support of the nonbinding, largely symbolic resolution.
Monitors show result of a United Nations General Assembly vote for a U.N. resolution upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling for a cessation of hostilities after Russia’s invasion. | Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo
Published: 15 February 2023 Authors: Stefan Talmon and Tobias Weiß, GPIL
On 1 July 2022, Viet Nam began issuing new non-biometric passports with a dark blue cover and a serial number beginning with ‘P’. Unlike the previous green passports, the new document no longer included the place of birth of the holder. Instead, the place of birth was hidden in a twelve-digit personal numeric code that had to be deciphered using a seven-page list of tables. Contrary to international practice, Viet Nam had not informed the German Government in advance about the new passports. On 27 July 2022, Germany became the first country to stop recognising the new passports.
When Antony Blinken makes an expected trip to Beijing in the coming days for what would bethe first visit to China by a US secretary of state since 2018, he will be cutting a stark contrast to the scene in the Chinese capital one year earlier.
Then, Chinese leader Xi Jinping welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opening of the Beijing Olympics – meeting for talks and dinner in Putin’s honor, and declaring a “no limits” partnership between the two neighbors. Weeks later, as Russian tanks rolled across the border into Ukraine starting an invasion that would devastate the country and cause a humanitarian crisis, Chinese leaders did not shrink from that declaration.
Though Beijing claimed impartiality in the conflict and no advance knowledge of Russia’s intent, it also refused to condemn Moscow. Instead, it parroted Kremlin lines blaming NATO for provoking the conflict – further fracturing relationships with both Europe and the US.
Tiếp tục đọc “Putin and Xi are as close as ever, and that’s a problem for the US “→
Good morning. One company controls a wide swath of the concert industry, and lawmakers say music fans are paying the price.
Protesters outside the Senate this past week.Kenny Holston/The New York Times
Ticketmaster has come under intense scrutiny since it botched the rollout of tickets to Taylor Swift’s tour late last year. Though the company has long been accused of anti-consumer practices, the backlash to the Swift debacle brought a new level of public attention. This week, the Senate held a hearing that explored whether Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, have an unfair monopoly over the live music industry.
I spoke with Ben Sisario, who covers the music industry for The Times, about how Ticketmaster become so dominant.
Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc might be removed from his position. If online speculation is true, Phuc will become the first Vietnamese president to be ousted while still in office.
On the evening of 13 January 2023, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc was seen present at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi cheering the Vietnamese national football team in the first leg of the Asean Football Federation Championship final against Thailand. Despite his cheerful appearance, Phuc is facing a critical turnaround in his political career. During a secret meeting on the same day, the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) quietly voted to oust him from his position as president.
Contrary to Russia’s plans, Europe has secured enough energy to be safe this winter. Thanks to the efforts of Europeans, we have cut our gas use by 20%, well above our target of 15% set in July. More about the #REPowerEU plan → http://europa.eu/!wbD6NW
Editor’s note: There will be no Daily Brief on Monday, January 16, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Top of the Agenda
Japan’s Kishida Visits White House Amid Historic Military Buildup at Home
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and U.S. President Joe Biden will meet today (WaPo) in Washington, with Biden expected to praise Japan’s plans to dramatically boost its defense spending. Their meeting is expected to focus on the war in Ukraine, Chinese military aggression, the North Korean nuclear threat, and boosting security cooperation. Ahead of the visit, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told Nikkei that Washington is willing to help Tokyo gain the ability to launch missile attacks on enemy territory. The two leaders are also expected to discuss U.S. export controls (Reuters) targeting China’s semiconductor sector. Tokyo supports the controls but has not matched them. Kishida’s visit caps off a weeklong tour of Western partner countries ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) summit that Japan will host in May.
Putin Replaces Russia’s Top General in Ukraine After Battlefield Setbacks
Russia’s highest-ranking military officer, General Valery Gerasimov, was promoted to lead the country’s forces (FT) in Ukraine, replacing General Sergey Surovikin. Since Surovikin was appointed three months ago (CBS), Russia has lost control of the southern town of Kherson and struggled to provide basic equipment to the hundreds of thousands of troops it started conscripting in September. Surovikin has also faced criticism for housing hundreds of troops in a building that was bombed by Ukraine. He will now serve as one of Gerasimov’s deputies. Meanwhile, tensions have reportedly flared between Russia’s military and its Wagner Group of mercenaries over which forces deserve credit for alleged territorial gains in the town of Soledar. An unnamed source told the Financial Times that Surovikin’s demotion could be linked to the Wagner Group’s apparent successes.
By Kentaro Furuya Capt. Kentaro Furuya (JCG) (email@example.com) is an adjunct professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) and professor at the Japan Coast Guard Academy.This PacNet was developed as a part of a workshop on potential cooperation among Quad coast guards to implement the FOIP vision organized by YCAPS. The papers were edited by John Bradford (RSIS) and Blake Herzinger (AEI). For the first in the series, click here.
Originally responsible primarily for maintaining good order and the safety of life at sea in domestic waters, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has expanded its commitment to international duties to cultivate external relationships and much-needed capacity building in neighboring states. While they began in the 1970s, these international activities have, in recent years, become essential functions in realizing Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). The JCG’s broad spectrum of capabilities and engagements makes it indispensable across all elements of Tokyo’s broader regional strategy, and its deepening partnership with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is amplifying its impact. Tiếp tục đọc “The Japan Coast Guard’s role in realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific”→
TOKYO—To get back some of the high-tech mojo that made it an economic powerhouse, Japan is launching an ambitious program to bring back cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing, a field it ceded to Taiwan, South Korea, and China nearly 20 years ago. But will this new campaign at state-backed industrial policy succeed, and more importantly, is it even the right goal?